Monday, 31 July 2017

HOMES across the Northern Tablelands will soon be able to switch on the power with locally-generated renewable electricity, with a 400,000 panel solar farm soon to be built near Armidale.

Local state MP Adam Marshall today welcomed the government’s approval of the 100 megawatt Metz Solar Farm, one of the largest in NSW, which is slated to begin construction early next year, east of Armidale.

“This is an enormously exciting project not only for Armidale and the Northern Tablelands, but for all of NSW,” Mr Marshall said.

“With all stages of state government approval now complete, Infinenergy Pacific are able to get on with the job of building the region’s largest solar farm.

“When the project is completed next year, it will power 40,000 homes and produce nearly 10 per cent of the state’s solar energy, making it one of the largest photovoltaic installations in the nation.

“It’s great to see an investment of this scale on our doorstep – bringing with it over 150 jobs during construction, and another eight ongoing.

“I’ve sought assurances from Infinenergy Pacific that they’ll be making the most out of local businesses and I’m confident the community will see substantial benefits from this $130 million investment.”

The project will be built 20 kilometres east of Armidale, on a property near the community of Hillgrove. The location was picked for its regular sun, easy vehicle access and perfect topography for solar panels.

Mr Marshall said the Metz Solar farm would greatly assist the NSW Government’s Renewable Energy plan, and would help the state meet its goal of achieving 20 percent renewables in the energy mix by 2020.

“This solar farm will keep 225,000 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere each year compared to coal fired power– which negates 1.125 million kilometres of vehicle travel,” he said.

“The NSW Government has also placed strong conditions upon the approval to ensure the local environment is similarly protected. Aboriginal stone arrangements and scarred trees will be looked after, and carefully planned construction logistics will minimise disruptions to the Hillgrove community.”

Combined with other major projects like the Moree Solar Farm and the three wind farms between Glen Innes and Inverell, the Northern Tablelands has 821 megawatts of large scale renewable energy development approved or in construction.

“For the first time in our region’s history we are on the cusp of being a net exporter of energy, reversing the historic trend and building wealth in our communities,” Mr Marshall said.

“We are fast becoming the renewable energy hub of NSW and Australia.”

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